Saturday 5 September 15:00 , Goodison Park , Attendance:
 
2
0
 
HT: 1 - 0

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    If confirmation Everton had completed their move for Brazil midfielder Allan earlier in the day threatened to lend this game an after the Lord Mayor’s show billing, then those on the pitch did their bit to cast it in brighter lights.

    Certainly, Jonjoe Kenny will fondly remember his first senior Everton goal – scored after seven minutes – friendly or not.

    Bernard flourished in a central role, surging upfield with the ball at his feet and supplying a number of incisive passes.

    Indeed, it was Bernard skipping forward and funnelling the ball to Richarlison which opened up Preston for Everton's second goal on 65 minutes, Dominic Calvert-Lewin steaming in to force home from the left-wing cross.

    Richarlison, buzzing around beneath his closely cropped peroxide blonde top belied the fact he was without any football for six weeks.

    The lone downside for Everton arrived with an injury for Mason Holgate, who hobbled off 14 minutes before half-time after hurting himself stretching to tackle in his own half.

    Holgate was replaced by Kyle John, joining fellow Academy products Anthony Gordon, fresh from signing a new five-year deal with the Club, and goalkeeper Harry Tyrer on the pitch.

    Tyrer can be very pleased indeed with his afternoon’s work, notably a splendid point-blank stop shortly before the interval and later on a tip onto the bar from Jayden Stockley's close-range header.

    Carlo Ancelotti puts great store by his teams speedily constructing play from back to front.

    It follows, then, that the Italian manager would have appreciated Everton’s opening goal.

    Calvert-Lewin expertly knitted the move together, gathering a Holgate pass on halfway and steering the ball left.

    The forward advanced and was vying with Kenny to apply the finish when Richarlison’s outside-of-the-right-boot delivery arrived at the back post via first Theo Walcott, then a defensive ricochet.

    Connor Ripley was in the final picture, too, but Kenny beat both the goalkeeper and Calvert-Lewin to the punch to squeeze home his finish.

    Ripley had already brilliantly reacted to turn behind a deflected shot from Gylfi Sigurdsson one handed and soon after the goal was tumbling to his left to push out a Richarlison strike.

    Preston were starved of possession, with Bernard – playing in a midfield three – and Everton’s wide players Richarlison, Theo Walcott and the excellent Kenny, seeing plenty of the ball.

    Ripley was rooted as a vicious Bernard drive swerved the wrong side of the right post and Walcott was denied when the keeper held on to a firm effort down to his left.

    It needed a linesman’s flag to scrub off what would have been a fabulous second Everton goal on 26 minutes.

    Gordon and Sigurdsson, captain on the day, combined to feed the third member of Everton’s midfield in Bernard.

    His pass for Kenny was exquisite, unzipping Preston and feeding the full-back in the box.

    Kenny cut back for Richarlison, whose swept finish travelled inside Ripley’s left post, only for Everton’s celebrations – and there were some, regardless of the context, so slick was the ‘goal’ – to be cut short by the offside call.


    A cross from Niels Nkounkou, very good again following an encouraging first outing as a substitute at Blackpool a fortnight ago, had already marginally evaded Calvert-Lewin when the same pair linked for the Englishman to send a looping header from a raking pass fractionally off target.

    Holgate’s forced exit prompted a temporary shift in momentum.

    The centre-half had been hurt recovering to challenge Brad Potts, who duly squeezed the ball through for centre-forward Stockley to force Tyrer to beat the ball away at his near post.

    Paul Gallagher, the ex-Blackburn Rovers midfielder, sent a dipping free-kick a yard wide.

    But Preston passed up a very presentable opportunity to level two minutes before the break.

    Ethan Walker raced clear of an Everton defence which now had Kenny in the middle and John at right-back.

    In a face-off between two 18-year-olds, however, it was Tyrer who came out on top.

    The keeper’s distribution was terrific throughout and here he showed an aptitude for his main job, too, standing tall to deflect Walker’s effort wide.

    John would have had an assist to his name if Walcott’s header from the teenager’s cross nine minutes after half-time had travelled a mite lower.

    Ripley stuck out a leg to thwart Gordon after Walcott had capitalised on a heavy touch from Jordan Storey to storm to the byline and cross for Richarlison to set up the midfielder.

    Gordon was growing into the game, intercepting and winning tackles and showing up in attack.

    Josh Earl was yellow carded for crudely halting a Gordon run from deep – Sigurdsson's resulting free-kick clipping the wall on its way over.

    Everton doubled their lead soon after when Brazilian duo Bernard and Richarlison teamed up – in front of compatriot Allan, watching from Goodison's Main Stand – to set up Calvert-Lewin.

    Stockley seemed destined to find the net when he climbed to meet Josh Harrop's free-kick from the right only for Tyrer to throw up a strong right hand and nudge the ball onto the bar.

    Calvert-Lewin shaved the woodwork after leaping to connect with a Sigurdsson corner and substitute Yannick Bolasie miscued whem Richarlison sped into the box via a one-two with Sigurdsson to cross.

    Ellis Simms, on for Calvert-Lewin, forced Ripley to save from the rebound the keeper had his palms stung against when Bolasie thrashed a shot from the right.

    Ripley was out of the equation right at the death when Lewis Gibson headed on target from another Sigurdsson corner but the keeper was bailed out by a defender on the line.

    Perhaps not the headline event of Everton's day, then, but a game that was entertaining and encouraging in equal measure nonetheless.

    Everton: Tyrer (Hansen 89'); Kenny, Holgate (John 31’), Gibson, Nkounkou; Sigurdsson, Gordon (Baningime 78'), Bernard (Adeniran 88'); Walcott (Bolasie 67'), Calvert-Lewin (Simms 82'), Richarlison.

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